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Hi I'm Brian

I'm a gardener, a pie maker, a husband, a father, an opera singer, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm the fourth of six kids. We grew up with music- listening to my mom teach piano lessons after school, singing together, trying out different instruments. For a long time I was going to be a cellist, but singing kept pulling me back. My career as an opera singer started in 2006. I had just finished graduate school. My wife and I had just welcomed our first baby, a boy. Aside from my first engagement, the future was a blank canvas. It was quickly filled with a great deal of travel. My wife and I determined that we were going to deal with the absences by avoiding them. Where I went, my family went. So our son and then our daughter started their lives on the road: Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Warsaw, New York, and more glamorous places like Winston-Salem, NC and Kansas City (we actually loved Kansas City). Our traveling circus was a bit abnormal by opera singer norms, but I felt like the luckiest guy ever- to do what I love and come home to our apartment, or hotel suite, or tiny room up 6 flights of stairs and be a family. Recently, we welcomed another daughter to the family, and our oldest started school, which means redefining the parameters. I've started teaching more and travelling less, which has enabled me to connect more with my other passions: gardening, cooking, and just generally feeling like I belong to a place. I also think I might be a potter, but I haven't made any pottery- yet.

Why I am a Mormon

I come from a strong Mormon background, and my upbringing was truly happy. A friend of mine was in a college class discussion about the death of the American family ideal and she said "No! They're not dead! I know them!". That's not to say that life was all easy. We had a large family and had what we needed, but not a lot more. We were each other's friends. We actually did gather around the piano and sing together. I learned early that the things the church stood for really did bring enduring happiness. Spiritually, my nurture in the gospel has taught me that there is a language that the Spirit of God speaks, and it is not a language that we start out speaking fluently. Just like any other language, or music, it requires effort and listening and intent. I feel like my experiences with music (a language with more spiritual possibility than any spoken language) have helped me to be sensitive to the ways in which my spirit can be opened to understanding Truth. That kind of language can bypass the limitations of intellect and reason; It conveyed to me the unfathomable knowledge that as small as I am, as insignificant as my existence may be in the grand scheme of things, that God knows me. And that He loves me in a way that I can only glimpse in this life. What I love about the Church is how it seeks to actuate that love in real human terms; in families, in congregations, in communities. It is the greatest challenge, and one we are destined to fail at time and time again. But persistence in that effort brings us into contact with everything that is actually real in this mercurial world.

How I live my faith

Sharing is how I want to live my faith. With all the traveling, regular involvement in my home congregation has been limited. But the opportunity I've repeatedly had to land in a totally unknown place and discover a community waiting there with open arms is priceless. People who travel a great deal without the church don't know what they're missing! I try to give back wherever I can. People are sometimes nervous asking me to sing for church because they assume that I get asked too much, or that it represents work to me. But what talent I may have is a stewardship from God, and what better place to share it freely than with the brothers and sisters I meet around the world. I also try to live my faith by making the choices that will focus the greatest priority where it belongs- with my family. I gave up performing opportunities so that I could be present at my first daughter's birth. In my industry you get work from work, so I don't know what other opportunities I may have missed, but it absolutely doesn't matter. I was where I needed to be. In my unpredictable industry, there have been many times where the next step was taken into the shadows of uncertainty. But we've discovered that moving forward with faith has taken us where we need to be. Increasingly, as we become more a part of a community, I hope my faith will be the guiding force in how I interact with those around me and in my relation to the place in which I live. I feel like I have a heritage in this great history of community builders, and I feel called to be a builder, a grower, a preserver and a producer. I love the church's teachings about stewardship and I think our world of consumerism distracts us. As I garden, I think a lot about what my stewardship is to the place I am planting. It is to do everything in my power to see that it flourishes; to help realize its potential while safegaurding the sustenance of its future. My responsibility to my wife, my children and my neighbor is nothing less.

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Brian
As the world becomes a more complicated place and more and more options become available, there has been a tendency to move away from the idea that anyone should have set roles. The church has been helping us navigate these waters with increasing nuance. Great emphasis is placed on the importance of equality between husband and wife in all that they do. The primary focus is the meeting of chidren's needs: physical needs, spiritual needs, intellectual needs. The father and mother should work together to ensure that these needs are met. Some have suggested that the traditional divisions of responsibility the church suggests mean that mothers do all the nurturing while fathers are free to simply provide materially. In my experience, church teachings have led me to be more involved and more nurturing with my children than I might be without such guidance. Show more Show less